Iowa second Amendment


Tribune News Service

The language added to the 2nd Amendment would require any restrictions on guns to survive “strict scrutiny.”


Last night 65 percent of voters voted ‘Yes’ to add more language to the second Amendment in the state of Iowa

On Election Day, when flipping over the ballot, Iowan voters were greeted with a ballot measure. The measure, entitled ‘The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment’ was passed by Iowan voters as of this morning. This measure enshrined the 2nd amendment into the Iowa Constitution, and included a provision for strict scrutiny to be applied when reviewing laws that regard firearms. 

The measure reads as “Article I of the Constitution of the State of Iowa is amended by adding the following new section: Right to keep and bear arms. Sec. 1A. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right.” 

Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.” The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steven Holt, explained that Iowa’s gun legislation has fallen behind compared to other states, Iowa being one of six states who hadn’t implemented the second Amendment in the state constitution. But, it isn’t the confirming of the second amendment itself that’s garnering attention from Iowans, it’s the language. Specifically, ‘strict scrutiny’. Strict scrutiny, according to Cornell, is “the highest standard of review which a court will use to evaluate the constitutionality of governmental discrimination. To pass strict scrutiny, the legislature must have passed the law to further a ‘compelling governmental interest,’ and must have narrowly tailored the law to achieve that interest.” This piece of legislation will make it significantly harder for gun legislation in Iowa to pass. Instead of attempting to protect Iowans, the floodgates open to looser regulations and more gun violence across the state. 

On top of the ballot measure passing, Iowa’s loose gun restrictions are crossing into schools as well, with a second school district in Iowa allowing for teachers to carry guns in school. In August, the Spirit Lake School Board voted to allow ten faculty members to carry firearms during the school day. 

The Cherokee Community School District followed, voting for a similar system in October. A parent of a Cherokee Community School District student commented, “I just think of the difference it could have made at Sandy Hook, or in Texas”. Those who believe that ending gun violence means arming teachers have a one dimensional view of gun violence. One cannot meet gun violence with more gun violence and expect the issue to be resolved. 

The point of making schools safer is to remove guns from classrooms, not implement regulations where guns are required in classes. All of this to say, there is no evidence that putting guns in schools slows gun violence. In fact, evidence shows the opposite.

A study done by Dr. Melvin Livingston found that, “More severe shootings were associated with shooters who were older and therefore unlikely to be students, whereas the presence of a school resource officer was unassociated with any reduction in school shooting severity.” 

Beyond teachers having firearms in schools, even the presence of student resource officers show no effect on the rates of gun violence. In fact, in reflection of past major school shootings, resource officers have proven to be unhelpful in times of need. The Marjory-Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which resulted in 17 injured and 17 murdered, the resource officer on duty ran and hid when fire was opened on the school. Former Deputy Scot Peterson has since been charged with criminal negligence. A similar situation occurred at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary, in a shooting that killed 19. The police force that was armed and protected waited over an hour to enter the building and confront the shooter. It has been proven time and time again that students and teachers can’t even trust resource officers or police officers to do their job – why force said job onto teachers? Why shift the responsibility of a police officer who refuses to do their job onto the shoulders of educators? The ballot measure dismisses these kinds of questions. 

There’s one simple fact about the ballot measure: it ensures that gun violence will continue to plague Iowa. In Iowa, we’ve cultivated a culture where this is okay. Where it’s accepted as the price we pay for the right to keep and bear arms. As Iowans, we continue to vote for people and policies that don’t have our best interests in mind. All for what, because this has worked in the past? Because as Iowans, it’s what we know? Instead, we’d rather continue to uphold the policies that infringe our rights and vote for people who don’t represent Iowa’s best interest because we fear change? Voting for who you know or what you’ve always known is lazy. It isn’t a performance of civic duty, it’s a disservice to Iowans. Iowa can do better. It must do better.